BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
Violating the law of pop records, Broken Social Scene’s latest is one of the few discs that gets progressively better as it goes along.
Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts) At a Broken Social Scene show, up to 19 members may take the stage strumming guitars, blowing horns, and stroking violins. Yet the result on the group’s new album, Forgiveness Rock Record, is less like Phish and more like Sonic Youth if they ever veered into jam-band territory. Epic, raucous and sensual, the new disc clocks in at 70-plus minutes, chock full of seven-minute songs whose fragmented lyrics suggest both political turmoil and frayed relationships. That’s the principle at work in “World Sick,” the album’s opening cut, which floats on waves of repeating guitar and horn crescendos. Despite its catchy hook, “Texico Bitches” is a biting send-up of oil-company hubris, all the more relevant in the wake of BP’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past decade, the Toronto-based band has attracted a legion of fans for its sincere, nonironic indie rock that depicts the tangled, transitory mess of friends and lovers in which so many spend their 20s and 30s. “A friend of a friend you used to call/Or a friend of a friend you used/You used to call,” sings BSS member Emily Haines in “Sentimental X’s.” Violating the law of pop records, it’s one of the few discs that gets progressively better as it goes along, gently winding down in pace, yet savoring it all as it goes, like a night out on the town with long-lost friends.
— Casey Sanchez